Cathy Duffy Reviews home > History / Geography / Cultural Studies > The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child—Volumes 1-4

Publisher: Peace Hill Press
Author: Susan Wise Bauer
Review last updated: July 2012

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

Instant KeyPublishers InfoPricing

The Story of the World

See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Susan Wise Bauer, author of the Well-Trained Mind, has written this series of history books to support the classical method of education she promotes in that book.

Four books in The Story of the World series cover history from ancient through modern times through narration and storytelling. While these books are written at increasing levels of difficulty, they might be read aloud to younger children and read independently by older. (Volume 1 targets grades 1 through 4, and each volume advances a year in difficulty with Volume 4 written for grades 4 through 8.) These books offer a selective retelling of history from around the world. The story format means that there will be more information on topics or people selected for inclusion, while other topics and people are skipped. Nevertheless, stories offer a decent representation of countries and civilizations around the world in addition to key stories of western civilization. Books are available in hardcover, paperback, and spiralbound editions.

Each volume has a companion activity book (published by W.W. Norton but also available through Peace Hill Press) that include lesson plans, questions, narration exercises, reading lists, map work, and activities designed to enhance each chapter in the books. These are large books, with 275 or more pages each. Activity guides refer to some other books such as The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World and The Usborne Book of World History. So you might want to purchase at least one of these as a source for more complete historical information than is found in History of the World books. Activity guides have reproducible student pages, which you are free to copy for your family or class group. If you prefer, you can purchase packets of these student pages ready-to-use. There are also test booklet for each of the four volumes.

The four books are:
Volume 1: Ancient Times (earliest nomads through the last emperor of Rome)
Volume 2: The Middle Ages (fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance)
Volume 3: Early Modern Times (Elizabeth the First of England to the Forty-niners/Goldrush)
Volume 4: The Modern Age (1850 to the present)

The presentation is not overtly Christian, although it recognizes and includes Christianity. For example, stories of gods and goddesses from other civilizations are retold without value judgments as to their validity. However, the author's own Christianity is still evident in the heavy weighting of biblical stories—lengthy accounts about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and the beginnings of Christianity, as well as the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Protestant viewpoint is most evident in the second volume in the chapter on Martin Luther.

Although there are a few black-and-white illustrations and maps, this is not a colorful history picture book for "browsing" but a basic history resource from which you can build a complete study for the early grades. (Note: Revised editions of the first two volumes have added new maps, illustrations, timeline, and pronunciation guide. Otherwise, the stories remain the same as in the first editions. These are still compatible with first edition activity guides.)

Volume 4: The Modern Age is more like a history text than the other books. It uses storytelling within the context of tracing and relating historical events rather than telling selected stories, making it more comprehensive in coverage than earlier books. In my opinion, this is one of the best options for world history for upper elementary through junior high levels.

The combination of book and activity guide offers an appealing approach to history that should adapt for all types of learners. They are valuable contributions that fill a need for Christian-friendly but classically oriented history study.

Note: You might be interested in professional storyteller Jim Weiss's readings of each Story of the World volume on audio CDs. These are produced by Weiss's company Greathall Productions.

Pricing

  • All prices are provided for comparison only and are subject to change. Click on prices to verify their accuracy.
  • Story of the World Vol. 3: Early Mod Times sc

    Story of the World Vol. 3: Early Mod Times sc

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 3 Activity Book (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 3 Activity Book (Paperback)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 4: Modern Age sc

    Story of the World Vol. 4: Modern Age sc

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 4 Activity Book (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 4 Activity Book (Paperback)

    Softcover Text, Volume 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Softcover Text, Volume 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Activity Book, Vol 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Activity Book, Vol 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Softcover Text, Vol. 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Softcover Text, Vol. 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Audio CD Set Vol 4: The Modern Age, Story of the World

    Audio CD Set Vol 4: The Modern Age, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer, narrated by Jim Weiss

    Story of the World Vol. 4 Audiobook CDs

    Story of the World Vol. 4 Audiobook CDs

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 3 Audiobook

    Story of the World Vol. 3 Audiobook

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Activity Book Vol 4: The Modern Age, Story of the World

    Activity Book Vol 4: The Modern Age, Story of the World

    Audio CD Set Vol 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Audio CD Set Vol 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition Audiobook CDs

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition Audiobook CDs

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Hardcover Text Vol 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Hardcover Text Vol 2: The Middle Ages, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition: Middle Ages (Hardcover)

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition: Middle Ages (Hardcover)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Softcover Text Vol 3: Early Modern Times, Story of the World

    Softcover Text Vol 3: Early Modern Times, Story of the World

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition Activity Book (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition Activity Book (Paperback)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Test Book Vol. 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Test Book Vol. 1: The Ancient Times, Story of the World

    Story of the World Vol. 2 Tests 2ED

    Story of the World Vol. 2 Tests 2ED

    Elizabeth Rountree

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition: Ancient Times (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition: Ancient Times (Paperback)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition: Ancient Times (Hardcover)

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition: Ancient Times (Hardcover)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition Activity Book (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition Activity Book (Paperback)

    S. Wise Bauer; Joyce Crandell

    Story of the World Vol. 1 Tests

    Story of the World Vol. 1 Tests

    Elizabeth Rountree

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition Audiobook CDs

    Story of the World Vol. 1 2nd Edition Audiobook CDs

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition: Middle Ages (Paperback)

    Story of the World Vol. 2 2nd Edition: Middle Ages (Paperback)

    Susan Wise Bauer

    Instant Key

    • Suitable for:  read aloud for younger children and independent reading for older. Activities are great for family/group use.
      Audience: grades 1-8
      Need for parent/teacher instruction: 
      varies
      Prep time needed:
      none for SOW books  
      Need for Teacher's Manual:  optional
      Religious perspective:
      Christian (Protestant)

    Publisher's Info

    • Peace Hill Press

      18101 The Glebe Lane
      Charles City, VA 23030
      (804) 829-5043
      email: info@peacehillpress.com
      www.peacehillpress.com